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If you are wondering if Google Analytics can be beneficial for search engine optimization, the answer is “yes”. Google Analytics (GA) is a web-based metrics tool offered by Google. It provides important SEO data – that can be used to optimize your site for search. And… there is no charge for this web analytics software.

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Here are five good SEO reasons to use Google Analytics:

1. Search Engine Traffic
Google Analytics tracks search engine traffic to your site. This captured data tells you how many of your site visitors arrived via engines as well as the how your search traffic ranks compared to your other traffic sources (direct traffic / referring sites). It also identifies the engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo! Bing) and who sent the most traffic. By default, GA tracks more than 20 different search engines. There is also a breakdown available between paid and non-paid keyword driven traffic.

2. Keywords
In addition to automatically tracking search engine sources, Google Analytics tracks keywords that send search traffic to your site. This data tells you which keywords / keyword phrases were used by your site’s visitors and ranks them according to popularity. You can drill down further to determine more details for each keyword including statistics on organic and paid search.

3. Content Performance

Since optimizing content for search is the basics of search engine optimization, tracking page performance is essential. Google Analytics tracks data on which web pages attract site visitors and displays them in order of which are performing the best (listed by URL). You can also view this data by Page Title. The Content Drilldown report provides a list of top pages based on content sections within your website. Top Landing Pages, sent by search engines traffic can also be identified, as well as data on how well they perform.

4. Campaign Tracking

This is a more advanced feature than the above three, as it needs to be set up. Google Analytics can do campaign tracking. This includes Google AdWords by default. However you can also track any search marketing (as well as offline) campaigns. Campaign tracking is implemented by using link tagging (a unique URL to identify each marketing source).

5. Site Search
Likely the most overlooked – yet a real valuable source of SEO data. This is only for those sites that have a search box and allow web visitors to do an internal search to find information. Google Analytics can track these search terms as well a search term refinements at the site level. This requires set up as well.

Accessing the data, of course, is only the first step in the web analytics process. You need to measure, analyze, test and modify – always working towards your desired outcomes.

If you do not have Google Analytics installed on your website or if you are not monitoring your site outcomes, it is time to get started.

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